Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Amanda Knox is in the news once again

One of our most-read postings here on Type M was a guest shot by Candace Dempsey, author of Murder in Italy, the story of what has become known as The Amanda Knox Case. I read the book and it is quite engrossing. Dempsey’s post has gone on to be one of the most-read of all-time on Type M with at least 1224 views.

Now Amanda is in the news once again. First she’s guilty, then she’s not guilty, and now Italy’s highest court has told them to go back to the beginning again.

For me, I am dying of curiosity to discover what really happened that November 2007 night in Perugia, Italy (where those delicious Baci chocolates are made). I doubt if we’ll ever find out unless someone confesses or new evidence is presented. A new trial will not solve anything because both sides in this case are just so entrenched.

In Canada over the years, we’ve seen numerous cases where people have been wrongly convicted because of what can only be called “willful blindness” by police and prosecutors. They had made up their mind that a certain thing happened, and then go about cherry-picking evidence to suit their premise. With new forensic techniques available to re-analyze evidence, the convictions of these people have collapsed.

Since we don’t yet know what the reasons are for the re-opening of the murder of Meredith Kercher and the subsequent trial of Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, we don’t know what errors in the appeals court judgment have been called into question. It’s going to be interesting to find out.

If you read the Dempsey book, and then move on to our accounts of the situation, it seems pretty clear that something went horribly wrong with the detection and prosecution of this case. It’s very difficult to lend much credence to the official account of what happened that grim night and not much evidence exists in support. It seems pretty clear that Rudy Guede, who actually was convicted (and remains so) probably was responsible for Kercher’s death. The fact that Knox and Sollecito are still on the official radar is because the Italian police and prosecution made critical errors in the way they handled the case: they spoke too soon – and too loudly. (And a whole lot more, truth be told.) They had made loud and harsh accusations publicly against the primary two, and when Guede later became a suspect, they had become stuck and couldn’t go back without looking like fools.

As a crime writer, and without breaking a sweat, I came up with two intriguing scenarios for plots coming out of this case. There are lots of others, I’m sure.

Here are mine:

  1. one of the cops realizes what’s going on and has to work against everyone else to see that justice is truly served.
  2. Amanda Knox did do it (and maybe for a reason not yet revealed) and has manipulated everyone so well that not only does she gets off, but the real reason is not revealed. The story is told from her POV.

Of course, new names, places and the situations would have to change enough to make this a true novel (and not open the writer up to some pretty horrendous lawsuits!), but I think they’re workable.

Anyone else care to weigh in?


j welling said...

It sounds like a great premise. I am a little surprised that you've resisted the Bolshoi Ballet.

There is a horrendous assault, sure to be the extra bodies before long, the performance world, the long strain of art on the soul - everything one needs.

There is also the research which promises to be fun.

I cannot deny that your set-up for the Italian murder would be something I'd have to start reading before I even got home, though. Pretty dark stuff there.

That Italian research can be fun, too. Ravenna is right around the corner.

Rick Blechta said...

I'm in the middle of a novel set partially in Italy (Rome and Venice), but I could certainly see doing another one, especially if it meant going back there for more research.

The thing is, though, that to write a novel that wasn't hit-you-in-the-face obvious (and thus more contentious in court), you'd have to move the story someplace else and change things around a fair bit. Peter Robinson did this in Aftermath where he used some aspects of the Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka murders very successfully. Great book, if you haven't read it.

But Italy? I have to admit that I'm tempted...